Egypt appeals Al-Jazeera broadcast ban
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CAIRO: The Egyptian government challenged a 2014 court ruling to stop the Al-Jazeera’s Egyptian channel broadcast in the country, Youm7 reported Wednesday.

A ruling was issued in September 2014 to halt the broadcast of Al-Jazeera Mubasher Misr (AJMM) in Egypt following a lawsuit filed by lawyer Mamdouh Tammam calling for the channel’s ban.

Tammam’s lawsuit was filed against certain authorities that he said refrained to stop the channel’s broadcast.

Filed by the State Lawsuits Authority, the government’s challenge complained about the presence of the name of the Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab among the named authorities, despite his not being entitled to issue a decision to stop the channel’s broadcast.

The other authorities present in the case are the Egyptian Satellite Company (NileSat) and the General Authority For Investment and Free Zones (GAFI.)

Egypt’s appeal is preceded by another appeal by the Qatari-owned network in November 2014 against the same ruling; both appeals will be considered before the High Administrative Court April 20.

The verdict that will be issued by the Administrative Court will be a final one, and will have consequences to both challengers.

If the final verdict were to uphold the ban, the lawyer can file a direct misdemeanor lawsuit against the Prime Minister that might lead to imprisonment and removal from office, according to Youm7.

If the court ruled to accept the government’s appeal and overturn the initial ruling, Al-Jazeera’s Egyptian channel would have its broadcast ban in the country overturned.

The initial ruling said in its reasoning that the AJMM sought to “spread incitement between the Egyptians and the armed forces.”

Lawyer Tammam stated in his lawsuit that the channel broadcasts “false news” about Egypt, portrays the June 30 incidents as “coup” and supports the banned Muslim Brotherhood organization.

In an August 2013 statement, the Minister of Investment, Information and Communication said that the channel was illegally operating and unauthorized to work in Egypt.

Tammam’s accusations against the channel reiterate those made by the Egyptian government. The pro-Brotherhood coverage of the channel has been  a major trigger to tensions between Egypt and Qatar, which supports the Brotherhood.

AJMM was broadcasting from Doha after its Egypt offices closed. The main channel decided in December 2014 to suspend its Qatar-based broadcasting until it receives broadcast permits in Egypt, in what was perceived at that time as a positive step in the then-reconciliation efforts between the Doha and Cairo.

The license of the Al-Jazeera channel and the accreditation of its journalists in Egypt has been the subject of a long debate that rose in the wake of the case of the Al-Jazeera journalists who are facing retrial over charges of spreading false news.

On March 11, the government also challenged another court ruling designating Hamas as a terrorist organization; a move that was perceived positive by the Palestinian Movement.

Additional reporting by Nourhan Magdi, Ibrahim Kassim and Mohamed el-Alem

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